Established in 1988, InterAid Uganda (IAU) is a Non-Governmental Organization, registered with the Ugandan National NGO Board. InterAid Uganda works to contribute to the UNHCR vision to see that “Refugees are protected by Government of Uganda, live in safety and dignity with the host communities and progressively attain lasting solutions” through comprehensive protection strategies, that the Urban Refugee Multi – sectoral Programme continues to implement.
The evolution of IAU dates back in 1980’s when International Christian Aid (ICA) started work in Karamoja region. At that time it was managed from Maryland in the USA. Each country office of ICA developed capacity and gained autonomy. In the case of ICA (Uganda), it was locally incorporated according to Uganda’s Companies Act of 1961 and as a result IAU got autonomy with a governance Board of its own. While the major focus has been on protection and humanitarian assistance to urban asylum seekers and refugees that rose from 5,000 to the current number of about 74,000. Working within the humanitarian laws and various development programmes of Uganda, IAU has made various significant achievements.
“Empowering Disadvantaged Communities for sustainable development”
The raison d’être of InterAid (Uganda) is to:
Contribute to the protection of human rights of the disadvantaged communities and improving their social-economic well-being
InterAid is associated with organisations below;
Intergovernmental Authority and Development (IGAD) CSO Uganda Chapter
Uganda National NGO Forum, Uganda Network of AIDS Service Organization (UNASO)
Network of Ugandan Researchers and Research Users (NURRU)
Gender Based Violence Network (GBVN) in Uganda. InterAid is involved in programs geared towards the protection and improvement of lives of disadvantaged people living in urban and rural areas in Uganda and in the Great Lakes Region in general.
Approaches we use;
- Rights Based Approach; Advocacy and Information Dissemination through which the programme promotes rights of refugees to Health, Education, Legal Assistance and all other related social services. The programme staff from the different sections also reach out to the public and private service providers through interactive meetings, so as to promote access to services for refugees and asylum seekers. As a result of this strategy access to education (primary & secondary), Primary Health Care support (including reproductive health & HIV/AIDS), legal assistance and legal remedies is expected to be improved.
- Community Based Approach and Community Outreach; Refugees are mobilized within their locations for example Somalis in Kisenyi – Mengo, Ethiopians in Kabalagala and Nakulabye, Sudanese in Kawala and Namugongo, Congolese, Rwandese, Burundians in Najjanankumbi, to identify their protection risks, causes, community capacities, gaps and priority needs. The programme works with refugee community resource persons to link the programme to the community and empower them through sensitization on the programme interventions, to promote their participation to prevent and respond to protection risks within the community structures. These include both refugee and host community structures especially the Local Council I structures in the different localities.
- Partnership and Networking; is used by the programme to promote & extend services to the beneficiaries of the programme so as to address especially health and legal concerns through formal partnerships with both public and private service providers. Some of the partnerships are to specifically address for example HIV/AIDS with AIC and legal services with Uganda Law Society. Networking with KCCA Education and Health departments to promote access to education and health services has been ongoing and support to some health centers and schools extended towards the improvement of services for both host and refugee communities
- Age, Gender, Diversity Mainstreaming; The programme addresses different categories of beneficiaries especially services for persons with specific needs (elderly persons, persons with disability – both physical & mental, unaccompanied minors/separated children and other children at risk of abuse and neglect, child mothers and youth) and seeks to strengthen specific services through the different programme interventions.
- Community Outreach; The strategy is used to promote peaceful co – existence with local communities and the programme schedules specific days of the week to extend services like VCT, group counseling in primary schools, regular meetings with LC I Chairpersons and host communities, & door to door visits within the communities.
We have a community Centre known as; The Antonio Guteres Community Center where InterAid conducts activities such as; Meetings, English classes, Rehearsals, training in livelihood skills Receiving Nutritional support and general Reception for inquiry about community interventions.
- Promoting livelihoods and Self-reliance; this ensures the delivery of basic services through the Health, Psychosocial and Legal Sections which together reinforce the strategy while interacting on a daily basis to the beneficiaries of the programme. Self-reliance initiatives are supported through loans and grants for IGAs and skills training facilitated for especially the youth.